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How do I treat a pulled calf muscle?

If it’s mild, you should treat a pulled calf muscle by resting it and protecting it from re-injury.

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Internal Medicine
Emory University
131 Answers
78,857 Helpful Votes

If it’s mild, you should treat a pulled calf muscle by resting it and protecting it from re-injury. Painful calf muscle strains deserve “PRICE” therapy (see below), and complete calf muscle tears (which are rare) may need surgical repair. The vast majority of pulled calf muscles will heal completely within a few weeks without any treatment.

Pulled muscles are also called muscle strains. They occur when muscle fibers are stretched beyond their normal length. The injury creates tears in the muscle that are usually tiny (microtears). In the most severe calf muscle strains, the entire muscle is torn, causing significant swelling and pain.

The calf muscle (also called the gastrocnemius) is a commonly injured muscle. A pulled calf muscle most often occurs after vigorous activity (running, jumping, climbing stairs), but can happen with normal activity in middle-aged and elderly people. Pain, possibly with some swelling or bruising, is the main symptom of a calf muscle strain.

Immediately after a pulled calf muscle, using “PRICE” therapy may help speed healing:

P, for Protect from re-injury
R, for Rest
I, for Immobilize with tape or an athletic bandage wrap
C, for Compression (make that wrap tight, but not so tight your leg goes numb)
E, for Elevate (keeping your calf muscle above your heart may reduce swelling)

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

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